I was wrong — this needs to be blogged, despite the fact that it is all over mainstream outlets. It looks like another line has been crossed, with Israel launching a missile attack into a crowd of people in Gaza, essentially a flat out massacre of civilians, without even any kind of pretext (most Israeli massacres of civilians come with a pretext). The absence of a pretext in this attack is a sign of impunity, I suppose related to the fact that the only forces that can restrain the Israeli military are the US (firmly dedicated to committing massacres with impunity and unlikely to play any restraining role) and the Israeli public (which is, actually, hopefully, less interested in these kinds of massacres).
It’s worth mentioning that apologists for Israeli atrocities always make a point of trying to differentiate Israel’s massacres of civilians from the Palestinian suicide bombers. They are not making the quantitative argument that Israel kills more civilians, which is the case, or that Israel starves Palestinians and the reverse is not true, also the case, and so on. Instead, they are saying that the Palestinian bombs are meant to kill civilians, deliberately, by design, whereas Israel kills Palestinians by accident. It was outrageous when they were using it before, but I suppose they’ll probably stop using it now.
Not that you need arguments when you have helicopter gunships and missiles.
Much more gravely, this is a glimpse of what Sharon’s ethnic cleansing plan for the Palestinians is: it has always been to use artillery against densely populated civilian areas and commit atrocities that dwarf the Jenin massacre of 2002. It is a ‘feeler’: if there isn’t a major reaction from the Israeli public or the US, there will be more such massacres, and soon.
Below is the note from the ISM.
INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
For Immediate Release
ARMY FIRED MISSILES AT A CIVILIAN DEMONSTRATION IN RAFAH
13 people, mostly youths are reported killed, more than 60 injured
[Rafah, Gaza Strip] Israeli army helicopter gunships and tanks opened fire on a nonviolent civilian demonstration in Rafah early this afternoon. 13 Palestinian are repored killed, including 2 children, and 60 injured.
Approximately 3.000 Palestinian civilians from Rafah, mostly youths, were peacefully demonstrating to protest the recent military operation in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Eyewitnesses reported that 4 missiles were fired from helicopter gunships and tanks fired shells at the crowd of unarmed civilians.
Hospitals are overflowed and cannot handle the situation, chief hospital spokesperson said.
This recent attack raised the previous death toll to 37 people in one of the bloodiest military operation since the beginning of the second Intifada.
For more information, please contact:
Mohammed Ali (English and Arabic): 972-59 841672
Adwan (English and Arabic): 972-59 304628
Dr. Ali Musa (Director of Rafah’s Hospital): +972-8-2132-616
Sa’id Zoroub (Mayor of Rafah): +972-59-408-391 or +972-8-21-37-951 (Office)
Ali Barhoum (Rafah Municipality): +972-59-815-100 or +972-8-21-37- 951
Dr. Youssef Musa (Director UNRWA Clinic in Gaza): +972-59-410-490
ISM Media Office: +972-2.277.4602